I bought my 1999 X-Star (205V) in the spring of 2007. It had been a freshwater boat and stored in a dry dock marina for most of its life. The trailer was in nearly new condition. I ride in brackish water (unfortunately, Iíve only averaged about 50 hours a year for the past 3 years) and have always spent at least 15 minutes washing down the trailer as best I could every time I launched and loaded. I only used fresh water for the rinse, so thatís my bad. Iím sure Salt-Away or some other corrosion preventative agent would have helped things somewhat. Anyways, what Iím saying is that Iíve tried to take care of my trailer. In retrospect, I donít think that a closed tube steel trailer should EVER be dunked in saltwater. Not even once! Hidden corrosion is no joke.
First year, no problems other than a busted stud that turned into a total nightmare due to the hex head stud that rusted in from the backside.
Second year, standard issues. Lights inop, brakes sketchy. Complete Kodiak brake job started. Long story short: new Kodiak rotors on, but no brake calipers. Waste of $500.
Third year, brakes still inop, but had gotten used to it. (3 mile tow to the launch at low speeds), lights fixed with an extensive rewire/LED upgrade. ($100)
Ultimately, this was the ultimate polishing of a turd. The trailer had a catastrophic failure as the main beams bent down at the rear spring perches. Iím no engineer, but this looked like an overstress of the metal after going over some potholes? This left a 1Ē gap at the transom between the boat and the trailer bunks. All in all, this is a fairly benign catastrophic failure compared to a couple Iíve seen online (broken tongue, snapped axles, exploding springpacks) but for me, it was a big deal.
So after a ton of research into the trailer world, I went with a Load-Rite ski boat trailer and I couldnít be happier. Going into this trailer search, I had some specific desires: a trailer that could handle saltwater (since Iím not a fan of the galvanized look, this means aluminum), tandem axles would be nice, good looking wheels, a good brake system, and a price as low as possible. I also wanted to go with a relatively large company with a good reputation in the industry. This is a summary of my findings, your mileage may vary.
There are only 2 manufacturers that produce an aluminum trailer for inboards: Phoenix and Load-Rite. Phoenix cost was $5700. Load-Rite cost was $3500. I only checked one dealer for Phoenix, so there may be some serious variance, but it seemed like the Load-Rites were just cheaper all around. I checked prices with 5 dealers and the high was $4600. It was a no-brainer for me. Hereís my trailer info: 7000# tandem axle. Stainless steel hardware package. Stainless steel brakelines. Aluminum wheels, including spare and mount. LED lighting. Fully adjusted to my boat (a 4 hour process for me at the boat ramp).
Overall, compared to the factory trailer, this one seems overbuilt for the application. Everything is very heavy duty and well built.
Load-Rite is an exclusively East coast outfit. Their dealer network leaves a lot to be desired. They donít sell directly to the public, but Iíve heard that they will help you out if you need parts for one of their trailers and you donít have a dealer nearby.
The lug nuts are chrome plated garbage. Theyíve already started to rust a bit on the edges, and I just got the trailer (built just weeks ago) on Tuesday.
My trailer didnít come with any ownerís manuals, parts breakdown charts, etc. This would be helpful down the road with bearing or seals replacements. Is that a 1.89Ē or a 1.98Ē or 2.12Ē or whatever those things are sized at. If you work at a trailer place, you probably know them by sight. I donít.
All in all, I am very happy with my new trailer. It pulls nicely down the road (tracks better than the single axle) and actually makes my boat look better! While expensive, it was a bargain compared to a new galvanized MC trailer.